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Order and disorder in Robinson Crusoe

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Sharp contrasts foreshadowing the unfolding of the plot.
    1. The contrast between wild nature and tamed nature.
    2. Natural disorder for Crusoe.
    3. The earthquake episode.
    4. Mental insanity and the opposite of serenity and spirituality.
    5. Robinson faling ill.
  3. Society in Robinson Crusoe.
    1. Crusoe's rejection of the savages.
  4. Robinson Crusoe: The narrator's progressive instauration of order out of disorder.
    1. Does good really triumphs over evil in Robinson Crusoe?
    2. Depction of the island.
  5. Battles won by chaos in the narrative.
    1. Digressions within the classical ascension towards stability.
    2. A few suppositions concerning the footprint.
  6. Depction of Robinson Crusoe as a gifted man.
  7. God and providence.
  8. The end of the perpetual struggle between order and disorder.
  9. Order: An arrangement of norms, aiming at guaranteeing stability.
  10. Order and disorder in Robinson Crusoe.
  11. The interaction between order and disorder in Robinson Crusoe.
  12. Conclusion.
  13. Bibliography.

?Necessity is the mother of inventions? could undoubtedly be regarded as one of Daniel Defoe (1660 ? 1731)'s favourite proverb, and indeed, he employed the maxim in his History of Trade, writing: ?Necessity which is the Mother, and Convenience which is the Handmaid of Invention, first Directed Mankind from these Originals, to Contrive Supplies and Support of Life?. Actually, this common motto operates rather well on Robinson Crusoe, the eponymous main character and narrator of The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an uninhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates -which is the full title of the masterpiece. Published as a fictional chronicle in 1719, the book met with such a huge success that its author quickly went on writing two lesser-known sequels to it, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe and The Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe, neither of which attracted as much consideration as the original. The genuine story of Alexander Selkirk, popularized through diverse narratives during the eighteenth century, is usually held to represent the major source for Robinson Crusoe.

[...] We have seen in our first part how order and disorder seemed to be opposed at first sight. Indeed, the text shows various instances of such contrasts. However, the struggle between those worlds must be considered from now on, because the two notions of order and disorder are not only separate and distinct: they use all their skills to outdo and try to defeat each other as well. When the reader comes to the end of the story, what he has in mind is indeed the victory of order out of disorder. [...]

[...] The storm and Crusoe's condition as a slave function as warnings -they are clear signs given by God that he should never go to sea again-, but the shipwreck is indeed the point of no return: from this moment on, Crusoe has to struggle in order to survive, and our hero constantly refers to his sin as a possible explanation for his misadventures. When the protagonist finds himself marooned on the sterile island, it really seems that nothing worse can happen to him, and disorder seems to be likely to have the upper hand in its fighting against the setting of order. [...]

[...] Indeed, non content with strictly being opposed, order and disorder in Robinson Crusoe are relentlessly arguing over their dominion upon the inner and outer spheres. As we have already pointed out, it is rather difficult to appoint a victor between the two, even though Crusoe seems to have completed his dialectics in the end. We will figure out that actually, the relationship between order and disorder in Robinson Crusoe is even more convoluted and elaborate than what we have come to so far in our study. [...]

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